May 11, 2005

Busy Work

The last days of school are filled with busywork: printing stuff, copying stuff onto CDs, picking up caps and gowns, cleaning out your desk in grad studio, turning in keys, dropping clothes off at the dry cleaners for graduation, getting your advisors to sign off on your thesis project and paper, which mine did this afternoon. After a frantic period of printing, I dropped my stuff off with the graduate coordinator and left, feeling about 20 pounds lighter.

One of the documents I had to drop off was the project documentation (5.3mb pdf) for my thesis project. Seeing as how it was put together in a flurry of frantic activity yesterday and printed and bound late last night, it's no masterpiece. But it will do. It has to do.

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May 10, 2005

Thesis Project Presentations 2005

Another milestone reached. The graduating master's students presented their thesis projects yesterday. Some personal highlights:

I presented my own thesis project of course, the final prototype of which can be found online, or downloaded for Windows (1.9mb Flash) or Mac (2mb Flash).

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May 05, 2005

Design is in the Details

Finishing my thesis project prototype this week, it struck me that there's a significant blind spot in CMU's program (and from what I understand, other interaction design schools' programs as well): working with developers on a prototype to get the feel of the thing right. Because at school you very seldom get to the working prototype stage (due to time and money constraints), you don't ever get into the finesse of an interactive design, those tiny things that make a huge difference. And those tiny things can usually only be seen in a working thing that can be played with and broken and fiddled with. Animations and delays and such don't appear in flat paper prototypes and storyboards. At least not well.

CMU is supposedly better at building things than some other schools that have lots of cool ideas and slick videos to go with them, but it could be better. I suppose one could argue that this is what the thesis project is for: to take an idea out to the working prototype phase, but it seems like too important a thing to save until the very end of your graduate education. Especially considering that many people don't make it to the working prototype phase in their thesis work, or do projects that would be almost impossible to do that with without a team of developers.

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May 03, 2005

Last Days of D School

The last days of graduate school are surprisingly quiet, although filled with anxiety and a tinge of panic. I went to my last class last week, which, like my first class, was with the inspiring Dick Buchanan. My last crit was yesterday, for service design, presenting a rethinking of Pittsburgh's light rail service, the T. Next Monday, I present my thesis project and turn in the final version of my thesis paper to be bound. Thus, these last days are about the final polish on my thesis work: typesetting and proofreading the thesis paper while creating the presentation and process book for my project. I'm also sending frantic emails to my developer, Dave Rowett, about bugs and final features to make it into the project prototype. It's all coming to a close.

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April 22, 2005

Thesis Project Beta Prototype

Please play with the beta version of the FilePiles prototype (~1mb swf)! I'd appreciate any feedback or comments you can give me.

Some thing that aren't obvious:

Hopefully, everything else will be more obvious. Remember that it's still a work in progress, so some stuff is still in development.

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February 26, 2005


In the last week, I

Anyway, this is what I've been dealing with. In this last semester, the schoolwork has gotten lighter, but the stress is still high.

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January 31, 2005

CHI Rejection

My poster (363k pdf) of my thesis project was rejected from CHI, which is sort of a relief: now I don't have to go. But I did waste a couple of days writing up the four- page paper (on a poster!) required for submission. Oh well.

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December 19, 2004

Thesis Project Poster

I put together a poster (393k pdf) of this project for presentation at CMU and possibly at CHI and/or the IA Summit. I've submitted proposals and (for CHI) a paper in support of showing there, so we'll see.

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December 06, 2004

Thesis Project "Paper" Prototype

Please feel free to play with my low-fidelity, non-interactive prototype. Usually, these sorts of prototypes are done on paper, but I thought I'd try an online version so that I could get feedback from you good people. So please, feel free to leave me comments here or via email.

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November 24, 2004

Fall '04 Final Projects

The last three weeks of the semester bring with them the final projects of the fall. Here's everything I have to do between now and winter break:

Obviously, a busy time.

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October 21, 2004

Help a Fellow Out

If you are between the ages of 18 and 54, help me out once again by taking a 10-minute or less survey related to my thesis project.

If you haven't looked at my thesis project site in a while, stuff has been happening over there...

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